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Surprise! The Police Corps is back—
not that it ever left.

Federally funded Police Corps programs are underway in Maryland and Oregon, and this year more states are expected to begin recruiting college students who are willing to serve as police officers for four years in exchange for tuition reimbursement.

The program, which has had a controversial history since it was proposed in the early 1980s as a way to increase the number of college-educated, community-oriented officers, was approved by Congress as part of the 1994 crime-control act. [See sidebar.]

The Police Corps program is administered by the Justice Department’s Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS), which also oversees a Federally funded effort to hire up to 100,000 new police officers nationwide.

Congress allocated $10 million to kick off the Police Corps program last year, and has doubled the funding this year. The funds are disbursed to localities by states, which also are given broad latitude to mold the programs to suit the specific needs of local police agencies.

The program is open to all 50 states, which must submit applications outlining their Police Corps programs to the COPS office for review. Applications from states wishing to be eligible for the latest round of funding were due this month, said Charles Miller, a spokesman for COPS, which oversees the effort through its Office of the Police Corps and Law Enforcement Education.

Last year, six states  Arkansas, Maryland, Nevada, North Carolina, South Carolina and Oregon  received funding and began to develop programs that will provide slots for up to 200 participants. The nation’s first class of 19 Police Corps cadets began a 16-week training course last November at the Oregon State Police Academy in Monmouth.

Once cadets complete training, which was devised to be in compliance with standards set by the state Board on Public Safety Standards and Training, they will begin working off their service commitments at the Portland Police Bureau. They’ll also begin receiving $10,000 annual tuition reimbursements, up to a total of $40,000 per participant, said Officer Victor Miller, a Portland police officer who is coordinating the program there.

This month, Maryland kicked off a campaign to recruit Police Corps participants, up to 120 of whom will be selected this year for eventual assignments with the Baltimore Police Department.

“It’s very exciting,” said Lieut. Gov. Kathleen Kennedy Townsend, a longtime supporter of the concept. “It’s an innovative way to recruit a number of young people into police work, some of whom will stay and be excellent police officers, while others will go out and be supporters of the police in their communities.”

Townsend is the daughter of the late Senator Robert F. Kennedy, whose former aide, attorney Adam Walinsky, is the creator and prime mover of the Police Corps concept.

In an effort to jump-start the program in the states once funding became available, recent college graduates were given the first crack at applying for Police Corps slots. But in the future, new cadet classes will be drawn from applications submitted by high school seniors and current college students, said Portland’s Officer Miller.

The Oregon Office of Criminal Justice Planning oversees the effort, Miller said, and has received requests from about 15 agencies eager to participate in the program, which will be expanded throughout the state as funds become available.

“There is an enthusiastic response to this program, not only from applicants, but also from counselors and instructors,” he told Law Enforcement News. “There’s never been anything like this for students who want to get into law enforcement.”

The next group of cadets, most of whom will be selected in their junior year, will begin training sessions once they successfully complete the selection process, which requires them to successfully complete the same written exam given to all police officer applicants, as well as an oral interview.

“Based on the oral interview, résumé and test score, they’ll be scored through a point system,” Miller noted. “We’ll make recommendations for those we want to select, but the state will have the ultimate say.”

 Federally funded Police Corps programs are underway in Maryland and Oregon, and this year more states are expected to begin recruiting college students who are willing to serve as police officers for four years in exchange for tuition reimbursement.

The program, which has had a controversial history since it was proposed in the early 1980s as a way to increase the number of college-educated, community-oriented officers, was approved by Congress as part of the 1994 crime-control act. [See sidebar.]

The Police Corps program is administered by the Justice Department’s Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS), which also oversees a Federally funded effort to hire up to 100,000 new police officers nationwide.

Congress allocated $10 million to kick off the Police Corps program last year, and has doubled the funding this year. The funds are disbursed to localities by states, which also are given broad latitude to mold the programs to suit the specific needs of local police agencies.

The program is open to all 50 states, which must submit applications outlining their Police Corps programs to the COPS office for review. Applications from states wishing to be eligible for the latest round of funding were due this month, said Charles Miller, a spokesman for COPS, which oversees the effort through its Office of the Police Corps and Law Enforcement Education.

Last year, six states  Arkansas, Maryland, Nevada, North Carolina, South Carolina and Oregon  received funding and began to develop programs that will provide slots for up to 200 participants. The nation’s first class of 19 Police Corps cadets began a 16-week training course last November at the Oregon State Police Academy in Monmouth.

Once cadets complete training, which was devised to be in compliance with standards set by the state Board on Public Safety Standards and Training, they will begin working off their service commitments at the Portland Police Bureau. They’ll also begin receiving $10,000 annual tuition reimbursements, up to a total of $40,000 per participant, said Officer Victor Miller, a Portland police officer who is coordinating the program there.

This month, Maryland kicked off a campaign to recruit Police Corps participants, up to 120 of whom will be selected this year for eventual assignments with the Baltimore Police Department.

“It’s very exciting,” said Lieut. Gov. Kathleen Kennedy Townsend, a longtime supporter of the concept. “It’s an innovative way to recruit a number of young people into police work, some of whom will stay and be excellent police officers, while others will go out and be supporters of the police in their communities.”

Townsend is the daughter of the late Senator Robert F. Kennedy, whose former aide, attorney Adam Walinsky, is the creator and prime mover of the Police Corps concept.

In an effort to jump-start the program in the states once funding became available, recent college graduates were given the first crack at applying for Police Corps slots. But in the future, new cadet classes will be drawn from applications submitted by high school seniors and current college students, said Portland’s Officer Miller.

The Oregon Office of Criminal Justice Planning oversees the effort, Miller said, and has received requests from about 15 agencies eager to participate in the program, which will be expanded throughout the state as funds become available.

“There is an enthusiastic response to this program, not only from applicants, but also from counselors and instructors,” he told Law Enforcement News. “There’s never been anything like this for students who want to get into law enforcement.”

The next group of cadets, most of whom will be selected in their junior year, will begin training sessions once they successfully complete the selection process, which requires them to successfully complete the same written exam given to all police officer applicants, as well as an oral interview.

“Based on the oral interview, résumé and test score, they’ll be scored through a point system,” Miller noted. “We’ll make recommendations for those we want to select, but the state will have the ultimate say.”

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Published in Law Enforcement News
Jan 31, 1997. 
© 1997, LEN Inc.  [ Subscribe.]